Lean In For Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

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I read this book at a very unfortunate time of my life. I just had gotten word back from a company that I did not get a position I applied for. My spirits were down, I was upset with myself and I turned to Sandberg for a pep talk. And I didn’t find it. I found it depressing, all the talk of how women are at a disadvantage in many facets of their lives.
Honestly, I wanted to put the book down. I was reading about things I already knew and it wasn’t helping me feel like I could go and get an adult job. But I kept reading and I was eventually okay with not getting the job I wanted and I started to enjoy the book a lot more.
Favorite Quotes:
  • “I realized that searching for a mentor has become the professional equivalent of waiting for Prince Charming. We all grew up on the fairy tale ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ which instructs young women that if they just wait for their prince to arrive, they will be kissed and whisked away on a white horse to live happily ever after. Now young women are told that if they can just find the right mentor, they will be pushed up the ladder and whisked away to the corner office to live happily ever after.”
  • “When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated, and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.”
  • “We cannot change what we are unaware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
  • “They laid out a new, communal definition of leadership: ‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.'”
  • “We owe it to the generations that came before us and the generations that will come after to keep fighting.”
  • “She continued, ‘You were on a panel and proclaimed, “I feel bad for white women”. Everyone in the room stiffened. Then you explained, “As black women, we know from early childhood that we are going to be discriminated against. It is a fact that runs through most of our lives. So when we get to corporate America, there are no surprises for us. White women, however, are in shock.”‘”
  • “Once, I came home from a birthday party where I was the only black kid invited and the first question my mother asked was, ‘How did they treat you?’ I responded, ‘Why would they treat me differently?’ And she said, ‘They’re not always going to treat you well.’ I was seven. My mother was ruthlessly realistic.”
  • “When I think of my career and why I leaned in, it comes down to basic survival. A din of anxiety born out of the dissonance of my childhood stayed with me. Drove me. I leaned in – all in – because I felt I had no other choice.”
  • “People often say that New York is America’s greatest man-made city, and they might mean this literally. The Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty were all designed and built by men. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 97 percent of the artists in the contemporary section are male (but 83 percent of its nudes are, you guessed it, female). George Washington was inaugurated here. Edgar Allen Poe wrote ‘The Raven’ here. On New York’s streets I often feel like I’m walking in the shadow of greatness – of men.”
  • “When I first look around the streets of Harlem, I remember that yes, this is where Langston Hughes wrote his finest verses, but it is also where Zora Neale Hurston wrote hers. Ella Fitzgerald took the stage for the very first time here. Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge may have been started by a man, but it was finished by a woman. After the chief engineer fell ill and became permanently bedridden, his wife, Emily Roebling, led the project through to its completion. She became the first person ever to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.”
  • “By the time I left for college, I understood that New York’s history was also shaped by women. But could I ever be one of them? In a city this big, it’s easy to feel small, and I still did.”
  • “New York’s women have never been afraid to lean in. I am proud to join them.”
  • “Your inner voice is your compass. It will help you figure out the answer to ‘What should I do now?'”
  • “Learn to accept uncertainty as an important first step to true self-discovery. To start finding your path, begin listening to that inner voice. Tap into what you think and feel, what you truly care about. Don’t worry about finding your passion and life’s calling immediately. Those usually take time. But do avoid becoming a passenger in your own life.”
  • “Anxiety, like cheap takeout, is a staple of life after graduation – even for your peers who seem to have it all figured out. Feeling afraid doesn’t have to lead to feeling paralyzed. You don’t need to know what you want to so with the rest of your life, or even the rest of the evening, to start listening to your inner voice.”
  • “Lick your wounds, cry your eyes out, but then get back out there. When we invest ourselves in worrying about what other people thing, we lose touch with what we stand for. By seeking others’ approval and trying to be perfect at everything we do, we disconnect from our internal compass. We value how we appear to others over who we really are. Keep listening to that inner voice and taking those small steps forward along your own path.”
  • “My life did not begin under perfect circumstances, but I had a family who believed I could persevere.”
  • “Studies show that when men and women receive negative feedback, women’s self esteem and self-confidence drop more than men’s. Additionally, men tend to attribute failure to external factors while women blame themselves, making it doubly hard for women to recover.”
  • “Proving your worth in a field like magazine writing, where success is often subjective, is hard but not impossible. So I started making lists. I tracked traffic figures, awards, TV appearances, the number of stories I published, any data I could get my hands on. I asked editors to vouch for me.”
  • “I couldn’t get past the fear of doing something I hadn’t proven to be successful at yet, even though my scores and mentor reviews said I was qualified. I counted myself out before I even gave myself a chance. It didn’t occur to me that I could have had both show and substance. I could have learned on the job. I could have done it!”
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